Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Approximately a year ago, about this time, my older Toshiba laptop died. Well, as I panicked when the screen, which had been getting progressively redder upon start-up over several months, went totally black, I realized I still had lights on in the main laptop body. Meaning it wasn't dead-dead, just sort of dead. I unplugged it from everything, raced it back from the living room to our office, unplugged a desktop monitor from a tower and into my laptop...

*Huge sigh of relief!*

Toshi wasn't dead, just disabled. The screen, that is.

Hence started a huge-ass back-up to get all my past and current projects up-to-date on my back-up external flash drive (500gb).

And I went to plan B.

Plan B was my little (and by that I DO mean little) Asus eeePC. Tiny little thing. When put up against my normal sized laptop, it's a leeetle teeny baby computer. But at the time, I was in the process of starting a manuscript that I really needed to finish. Now, I didn't have Word installed on the Asus, but I did have Open Office. Despite the tiny screen and tiny keyboard, I was determined to make do.

Fortunately, my cousin is an uber-geek-god when it comes to fixing electronics and he assured me he would get Toshi up and running.

In the meanwhile, I didn't want to take over my dh's laptop, and I just can't write on a desktop anymore.

So I installed SuperNotecard on the Asus, copied my current works in progress files, and away I went. I did have to invest in a full-sized wireless keyboard/mouse combo, but after several weeks my cousin got Toshi back up and running before I went blind from the tiny screen.

In the meantime, I finished and submitted the manuscript for "Love at First Bight." Written almost entirely on the Asus.

I posed the question on my Facebook wall the other day asking fellow writers what was the strangest/most unusual way you'd written something, usually in desperation. I would have to say since I don't usually write longhand (arthritis), that my month-long stint on my Asus was my strangest to date. Toshi was returned to me as good as new, but earlier this year I upgraded to a new Toshiba laptop, and my "old" Toshi has been relegated to back-up status. (Keep in mind, I use my laptops like most people use desktops, and my laptop is on usually 12+ hours a day.)

So what's your story? My point of this entry is that there are plenty of excuses why you "can't" write. But if you are a "real" writer, you know there are no excuses. Whether it's one sentence or a whole novel, you find a way to write it because it's not just what you do, it's who you are. So feel free to share your strangest/most desperate/unusual writing tales.

(And don't forget to back up your data!)

(PS - For you government FCC blog geektards, yes, I purchased both my Toshiba laptops and my Asus eeePC. But if either company ever wanted to offer me a freebie I'd take it in a heartbeat. So pppptttppp!)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Configuring retro-Word appearance.

Do you miss the old versions of Word where you could use a dark background and light text?

I got this link courtesy of author Douglas Clegg:

You can not only change Word 2007 so the background and text colors are reversed for ease of use, you can make it look like an old-time word processor and reduce your time-suckage distractions by setting it up for full-screen viewing!

Mega-cool, and a HUGE thank you to Douglas for the link!!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

English is hard!

First of all, I didn't write this, I got it through the Writing email list on the Internet Writing Workshop. I don't know who originally wrote it, but kudos to you, sir or madame. I'm classifying it as a "writing how-to" post because frankly? It sort of is. *LOL*

You think English is easy???

Read to the end . . . a new twist

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it, English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Drive on a parkway and park in a driveway? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

P.S. -- Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick' ?

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this:

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?

Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends.

And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.

We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.

At other times the little word has real special meaning.

People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.

A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.

In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.

It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP .

When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP... When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP. When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so...it is time to shut UP!

Now it's UP to you what you do with this email.


(Note to writers from Lesli: "Up" is one of those sneaky little "filler" words we all use without thinking, but really, in many cases, they're extraneous and just pad your word count with worthless extras. For example, you don't need to say the character "sat down." You can say, "He sat." Down is implied. But, if for something particular, like he's going to pay attention to someone speaking, you can say, "He sat up straight in his chair," or similar phrasing to indicate what he's doing. It's easy to say, "He sat back down," when, "He sat again," or, "He returned to his chair," would be better. So beware those sneaky little words!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Quick historical research tip.

Just a quick tip today. Here's something neat I discovered with my old friend, Wikipedia. (Yes, I know, you have to double-check what you find on Wikipedia, but it's a great place to start.)

If you need to do research on a particular year for, say, a historical romance you're writing, you can type in something like this:


and it gives you major events, births, and deaths for that year. Substitute the year you want, of course.

Again, it doesn't mean you can get away with no other research, but if you need a starting point to help you get a feel for a year, there you go. Enjoy!